An early look at a few San Diego Padres prospects who should enjoy a decent 2022 season.
There is no doubt that the San Diego Padres still possess a productive farm system.
Even though A.J. Preller literally dealt dozens of men over the last two seasons, there is a lot of promise with the Padres in regards to their minor league system. Sure, the team is not a top-3 farm system currently, but they do still possess depth. There are a lot of 16 to 18-year-old players both in the DSL (Dominican Summer League) and in the ACL (Arizona Complex League). Most of these men are a few ways from making any noise in the system, but they are very capable of becoming major league players.
As the Padres’ major league team became relevant, it was well-predicted that A.J. Preller and his staff would trade multiple prospects for major league talent. They did just that.
Despite the fact, a lot of the household names within the system were dealt to other teams. Nevertheless, there is plenty to be excited about in regards to the future of this franchise.
The 2022 San Diego Padres have one goal, and that is a World Series title. The team is built to win now. There is reason to believe the Padres will trade more prospects in the coming months to further build a potentially winning team. It is all part of the plan.
Below is a look at some players who should enjoy a great 2022 season.
Most are highly-regarded, but a few may surprise you.
This sweet-swinging left-handed hitter is the cream of the Padres prospect crop. His 2021 season ended early, as an unfortunate accident on the field left Abrams with a fractured left tibia and a sprained MCL. However, Abrams was off to a great start in Double-A San Antonio, where he put up a .296/.363/.420 batting line with a .782 OPS in 42 games. His 2021 season was cut short, but there is so much promise with this 21-year-old.
The first-round pick in 2019 is currently in Arizona and looks fully healthy. His leg injury is unfortunate, but he is reporting no issues. Abrams will likely make noise this spring in Padres camp and has an outside chance at breaking camp with the big league squad. The bat is for real, and ABrams is versatile with the glove. The right-handed thrower could literally play all over the field. If he spends any time in the minors in 2022, expect huge numbers from this young prospect.
Robert Hassell III
At 20, RH3 (Robert Hassell III) shows an impressive eye at the plate and the intangibles to be a big leaguer. Hassell is fleet-footed and blessed with a plus arm on the field. The left-handed hitter and thrower spent most of the year in Lake Elsinore, where he put up a .897 OPS in 92 games for the Storm. Hassell was promoted to Fort Waye, where his offensive production fell slightly. Nothing to be concerned about as Hassell furthers his development.
Expect Hassell to begin the year in the Midwest League, where he can continue developing his power. He slugged 11 total homers on the season, but four of them came in Fort Wayne in 18 games. In total, the outfielder recorded a .302/.393/.470 batting line with a .863 OPS in 110 games. RH3 is a true centerfielder where he gets great jumps on the ball. On the basepaths, Hassell stole 34 total bases in 2021. This young prospect is a potential five-tool talent and will have a tremendous 2022 season.
At 6-foot-7 and 240 lbs, James Wood is very recognizable on the baseball field. As you would imagine with that size, power is his forte. However, Wood is showing incredible physical tools beyond his size. The left-handed hitter and right-handed thrower played 139 innings as the Padres ACL Team’s starting centerfielder. Yes, he played center, showcasing a plus arm and decent range. Wood will likely move over to a corner spot as he develops in the system, but the fact he is a capable centerfielder displays a lot about this young player.
Wood put up a .372/.465/.535 slash line in 26 games and 86 at-bats in 2021. His 1.000 OPS is really impressive for a player seeing professional pitching for the first time. The second-round pick in 2021 from the IMG Academy was given more than double his slot value as the Padres invested $2.6 million into Wood. Expect James Wood to begin the year in Lake Elsinore and produce against California League pitchers in 2022.
The San Diego Padres first-round selection in 2021 was this young shortstop out of a high school in Maryland. Merrill is solid across the board with his tools. He is not flashy and will not wow you with any particular trait. He is consistent, and that goes a long way in professional baseball. The left-handed hitter uses the whole field with his swing. There are some concerns about the power numbers, but he has good size at 6-foot-3 to gain muscle and potential power.
At shortstop, Merrill is smooth and uses his plus arm strength well. He should be able to remain at the position moving forward as Merrill also shows decent baseball IQ. At this point, the infielder needs a little help with his footwork. He lacks overall quickness and will need to gain some speed to his game. The left-handed hitter put up a .280/.339/.383 batting line and a .722 OPS in 31 games and 107 at-bats last year in Arizona. Expect Merrill to continue to develop in 2022, where he could turn a few heads.
Drafted in 2016 with the 71st overall pick, Lawson was very close to making his major league debut before going down with an elbow injury. Tommy John surgery sidelined the pitcher for most of the last two years. Lawson came back in 2021, recording a 9.45 ERA in 6.2 innings pitched. Nothing alarming here with his numbers as Lawson was just getting back on the bump in game action. The pitcher is known for an incredible work ethic, and it is no surprise the Padres rewarded him by allowing him to throw in 2021.
For 2022, Lawson will be at or near full strength. The right-handed pitcher is knocking on the big league door and could debut at some point in 2022 with the Padres. His fastball sits in the mid to upper 90’s, and he also flashes a plus curveball from time to time. The changeup on Lawson is a big pitch, and he has worked on it in recent years with none other than Trevor Hoffman. Expect Lawson to develop more in 2022 as he gets his legs underneath him.
This funky left-handed thrower came out of nowhere to have an impressive 2021 season. The 24-year-old pitcher went 2-2 with a 3.06 ERA, and a 1.104 WHIP in 70.2 innings pitched between Fort Wayne and San Antonio. The 1oth-round pick in 2019 struggled some in San Antonio, but it is a huge jump between levels for pitchers. Elliott does not have a blazing fastball, but he uses his mechanics to deceive batters and flips up a plus changeup. The slider is also an effective weapon for this southpaw against left-handed hitters.
Elliott displays plus control and teamed with a deceptive motion. He will get batters out consistently. The lefty will remain in the rotation for now but has the ability to be a useful reliever if the Padres want to go that route. The 6-foot-3 pitcher should further develop in 2022 and is surely poised for a great year in the Texas League.
At 19, this right-handed hitter from the Dominican Republic made the big jump in 2021 in terms of value. Angeles barrels up the ball consistently with a level swing and quick hands. The bat is a positive right now for Angeles, who put up a .329/.392/.445 batting line with a .837 OPS in 105 games last year. Angeles was promoted to Fort Wayne late in the year after hitting .343 with the Storm.
Signed in July of 2019 for $300,000, the teenager was not considered a top-30 guy. With an impressive campaign, his value increased in 2021. Angeles shows some power, though it will not be a strong suit for him at the upper levels. He also has plus speed, as Angeles stole 19 bags last year between the two levels. The tools are there for this infielder to blossom even further in 2022. He is a player to keep an eye on moving forward within this Padres system.
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